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'Oneness in Diversity'

June 10, 1986

Chandler's informative article mentioned some "notables" and other "famous" people who were Unitarians. Your readers may be intrigued to learn the names of some more of them: poets William Cullen Bryant and Sidney Lanier, naturalist Louis Agassiz, astronomer Maria Mitchell, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin, historians George Bancroft and Lothrop Motley, educator Horace Mann, Daniel Webster, Cyrus Pierce, who crusaded for normal schools, Samuel G. Howe, who established the first school in America for the blind, Henry Bergh, who created the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In an April 2, 1926 address President Little ( not a Unitarian) of the University of Michigan said that "intellectual leadership is closely connected with liberality in religion." He presented statistics showing that persons of various Christian denominations occur more or less frequently in Who's Who in America according to the liberality or illiberality of their creed.

Using three letters of the alphabet, A, M and W, he had tabulated four groups--medical men, scientists, authors or writers, and lawyers. "The results, calculated on a percentage basis, when compared with the percentages of the various religious denominations in the whole United States, showed that Unitarians occur more than 28 times as frequently as one would expect, Episcopalians 10.6 times, Congregationalists 5.8 times, Universalists 5.5, Presbyterians 3.5. In marked contrast with these, Methodists occurred only three-fifths as many times as expected, Baptists a little more than two-fifths, Roman Catholics between one-quarter and one-fifth."

The difference between denominations seemed greater among scientists than among lawyers--"an interesting fact when we consider that science continually looks for new truths while law has for its chief duty the maintenance of the existing order. Thus, among the scientists the Unitarians are found to be 70 times as numerous as expected, Congregationalists 9.4, Catholics about one-fiftieth as many as the occurrence in the general population would indicate they should be."

It seems truly incredible that in 1925, of the 65 of our nation's most honored dead, with busts or tablets in the Hall of Fame at Columbia University, 22 were Unitarians! And this was at a time when they numbered only 110,000 or one six-hundredth part of the whole church membership then in our land!

The November, 1946, Magazine Digest carried an interesting story on Unitarians entitled, "They Practice What Christianity Preaches." It said: "If doing good--actually practicing what Christianity preaches--is a measure of religion, there are few who will deny that Unitarians are very religious people." The church's Christian Register (the oldest religious publication in the United States) pointed out that the movement was playing the role of Good Samaritan to men, women and children--in the United States and innumerable other countries--who need help.


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